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MAGI #13 - - Watch & Learn

Sinister elephants! Evil monkeys! Oh my!

That’s a nice turnaround for a super-move, right? Alibaba was only just learning that Sword of Amon trick last episode - - now he’s wielding the thing like a real magi, himself.

Actually, kudos to the show on its plotting, because it take a real understanding of your audience (and some real guts, as well) to risk having one of your main characters seem so unlikable for about six episodes because you’re setting him up for a real heroic turn. Especially in a genre that gets so anxious about making sure viewers root for the heroes at all times, that takes some steel nerves, man.

I mean, they made Alibaba such a weasel that I was secretly wishing they’d just drop aside like so much rubbish. I didn’t really even want him to get his act together, at first. Now that he’s properly putting his house back in order, though, it’s all the more satisfying to watch precisely because my feelings have reversed.

It's a storytelling principle that I think a lot of anime fans lose sight when, for instance, they complain about leads being whiney. Like, there’s an art to not giving audiences the wish fulfillment they want, right away, so they get a much more cathartic release when you finally do give it to them. Viewers aren’t going to appreciate Shinji getting confident as an EVA pilot if they haven’t had to deal with aix scenes of him crying in a bathroom, you know?

That MAGI can pull that off with such a pampered little weasel is all the more remarkable.

On another note, I couldn’t help but fixate on the shape-shifted elephant and the brigade of monkeys Alibaba has to get through. A month or so ago, while I was watching DBZ, I finally got to read the RAMAMYANA, and both of these foes seem more befitting to that text than 1,001 ARABIAN NIGHTS. With every successive shonen I watch, I really am seeing more evidence of the debt shonen owes to that epic. It'll make for one amazing grad school paper some day, I'm sure.

Watch this episode, “A Prince in Revolt" here and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

zaldaron April 24, 2013 at 6:02 p.m.

Thank you for pointing out the use of making your hero whiney in the first. The fact people complain about shinji so much has always annoyed me...

takashichea moderator on April 28, 2013 at 12:36 p.m.

Heh, a lot of folks don't like Alibaba. HIs actor, Yuki Kaji, does Shu Ouma who is pretty wimpy.

I don't mind Alibaba. He's inexperience and will have to learn his lesson when the time comes.

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